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A Mom Begged The Judge To Let The Sentence Fit The Crime. He Ignored Her And Gave Her Son Life.

Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons. Over half are there for nonviolent crimes. And many, like Rufus, are there for having drugs. Not dealing. Not stealing. But for having drugs. They're there FOR LIFE for a crime that normally carries a 0-5 year sentence and treatment — because of mandatory-minimum laws. Listen to his story.

A Mom Begged The Judge To Let The Sentence Fit The Crime. He Ignored Her And Gave Her Son Life.
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The ACLU

Rufus fell victim to one of the most egregious laws on the books: the mandatory-minimum three-strikes law. (You can read a comprehensive PDF analysis of it and learn more about Rufus.) The evidence against him was a dime bag with cocaine residue in the backseat of the police car that the police drove him in. It was enough for a local judge to sentence him to LIFE IN PRISON — for having a tiny, basically empty plastic bag near him. That's it.

This crime, if you can call it that, under normal circumstances would carry a 0-5 year sentence, with treatment programs to help. But because he had two previous convictions, he is locked away on the taxpayer's dime for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.


Mandatory minimums are not only unfair to the convicted. They keep judges from doing their job. Not every crime is the same. And the idea of a tiny plastic bag putting you away for life is absurd. We can do better. Here’s how you can help fix these dangerous laws that destroy communities.

And then share this if you think maybe our system is flawed and just might need fixing?

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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